Prof. Alonso is the founder and director of the Aerospace Design Laboratory (ADL) where he specializes in the development of high-fidelity computational design methodologies to enable the creation of realizable and efficient aerospace systems. Prof. Alonso’s research involves a large number of different manned and unmanned applications including transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic aircraft, helicopters, turbomachinery, and launch and re-entry vehicles. He is the author of over 200 technical publications on the topics of computational aircraft and spacecraft design, multi-disciplinary optimization, fundamental numerical methods, and high-performance parallel computing. Prof. Alonso is keenly interested in the development of an advanced curriculum for the training of future engineers and scientists and has participated actively in course-development activities in both the Aeronautics & Astronautics Department (particularly in the development of coursework for aircraft design, sustainable aviation, and UAS design and operation) and for the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME) at Stanford University. He was a member of the team that currently holds the world speed record for human powered vehicles over water. A student team led by Prof. Alonso also holds the altitude record for an unmanned electric vehicle under 5 lbs of mass.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics

Administrative Appointments

  • Member, SoE Future Committee (2015 - 2016)
  • Director, NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program Office (2006 - 2008)

Honors & Awards

  • AIAA SciTech Best Paper Award, Thermophysics Technical Committee, AIAA (2014)
  • NASA Aeronautics Associate Administrator Award for High-Fidelity Tool Validation for Sonic Boom, NASA (2014)
  • AIAA Associate Fellow, AIAA (2012)
  • FAI Altitude World Record, Class U, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Electric category, FAI (2010)
  • NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, NASA (2009)
  • AIAA Best Paper Award, Multi-Disciplinary Optimization Conferences, AIAA (2004, 2006, 2008)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, NASA Advisory Council (2005 - 2006)
  • Member, Sec. of Transp. Future of Aviation Advisory Council (2010 - 2011)
  • Member, FAA Management Advisory Council (2011 - 2014)
  • Member, FAA Drone Advisory Council (2016 - Present)

Professional Education

  • PhD, Princeton University, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (1997)
  • M.A., Princeton University, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (1993)
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aeronautics & Astronautics (1991)


  • Juan J. Alonso, Andre S. Chan, Ferdinand Hendriks. "United States Patent 7,177,116 System, Method, and Apparatus for Breaking Up Large-Scale Eddies and Straightening Air Flow Inside Rotary Disk Storage Devices", Sep 1, 2005
  • Juan J. Alonso, Andre S. Chan, Ferdinand Hendriks. "United States Patent 7,946,691 System, Method, and Apparatus for Applying Boundary Layer Manipulation Techniques to the Air Flow Inside Rotary Disk Storage Devices", Sep 1, 2005